Monday, 7 November 2022
And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord. Acts 11:21
The previous verse noted that those of the scattering that occurred after Stephen’s stoning who were from Cyprus and Cyrene “spoke to the Hellenists, preaching the Lord Jesus.” As noted then, there is a dispute as to whether this was referring to Greek-speaking Jews or Gentiles. What seems likely is that it was speaking of Greek-speaking Jews. Either way, however, it now says, “And the hand of the Lord was with them.”
This is referring to those who preached about Jesus. The Lord’s hand was with them, and they were able to effectively communicate the good news, bringing others to salvation. That is explicitly noted with the words, “and a great number believed and turned to the Lord.”
Whether Greek-speaking Jew or Gentile, there was an extensive harvest of those who believed in Antioch. The church grew quickly because of the efforts of those who were a part of the scattering.
Life application: There are many Hebraisms brought forward from the Old Testament into the New. In reading and understanding the Old, the New is much livelier and much more easily understood. An example of this is the term “the hand of the Lord.” This is found many times in the Old Testament where the “hand” is equated to power. In this case, it is the effective power of the Lord to bring about a change.
An example of this is found in Exodus 14:31 –
“and Israel seeth the great hand with which Jehovah hath wrought against the Egyptians, and the people fear Jehovah, and remain stedfast in Jehovah, and in Moses His servant” (YLT)
This is translated by others as –
“Thus Israel saw the great work which the LORD had done in Egypt; so the people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD and His servant Moses.”
There are an innumerable number of such terms used in Scripture to help us see how the Bible portrays things. The finger of God, the arm of the Lord, walking in the way of the Lord, and on and on. Such terms, when understood, can help us to more clearly see how God is revealing things to us.
As you go through the Bible next time, maybe take the time to highlight such things. As seen in the translation of the NKJV, some of these Hebraisms are translated in order to accommodate our understanding, but many are not. So, pay heed to them and think about why God chose to express Himself in these various ways. This is a great tool to help you understand the Bible more clearly.
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your precious word. It is a light to our understanding. It is a beacon to call us to You. It is a guide for our walk in this life. And it is a book of hope and joy for us to revel in. Indeed, O God, thank You for Your most precious word. Amen.